355 ‘Tioxide’ Lunar Rover

There’s an interesting  version of the 355 Lunar Rover on eBay at present (Buy It Now listing ends 28th April 2019).  It’s the ‘Tioxide Paints’ version and priced at £225 – not cheap but they are pretty rare.

But it was not just the Lunar Rover or even Dinky that only caught the marketing people at Tioxide Paints’ eye. A Corgi Concorde and a Spot-On Land Rover were also branded with Tioxide. I am led to  understand that all three toy companies provided unpainted models to the firm who then coated them with a Tioxide based paint (the Tioxide bit is a whitening chemical and still used today) and stickers, and this done was around 1967/68.

There were only a few models produced for senior managers and favoured clients.

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Rare Gold 362 Trident Starfighter at auction

Just a few weeks before Dinky’s factory at Binns Road, Liverpool closed, Airfix, who owned Dinky, held their annual dinner dance at  the London Hilton. Today I suppose it would be unthinkable to hold such an event as the company spiralled into bankruptcy but in 1979 it apparently wasn’t.

The guests were all given a memento of the occasion, a specially commissioned gold painted 362 Trident Starfighter, only commercially available in black during its limited production run.

One of these souvenirs is being auctioned at Vectis Auctions on the 16th January 2019

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Image: Vectis Auctions

The model comes from Dr Edward Force’s collection, who has written a series of excellent reference books so it has an interesting provenance.

The box label is sadly missing the hand written signature of Ray McNiece, Meccanos’ last Managing Director who had only been in post since May of 1979 but the toy is otherwise a poignant memory of the end of a great brand.

Update: Sold for £120


Disclaimer: I have no connection to Vectis Auctions or to the item and as with all auctions please check the details carefully before you bid.

104 SPV with a brown seat

The listing is unfortunately timed  as it ends on January 7th but I suppose if one cancels Xmas and invests the money [c£215 plus postage from the U.S.!] then 2019 would be a very good year for one collector.

The auction is for a late version 104, with stickers and a black bumper, but also with a brown rather than red seat. I have one in my collection and it can be viewed here.

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This variant is rare and it’s hard to find one in this good condition.

Disclaimer: I have no connection to the seller or the item and as with all eBay auctions please check carefully before you bid.



Investigator props sold

The highlight of Sworder’s auction on the 10th October were the two Gerry Anderson props from the Investigator TV show. For full details see my earlier post.

The estimate for each prop was between £6,000 ($7,800) and £8,000 ($10,400) but in a fairly muted bidding process the car made £6,000 ($7,800) and the boat £5,400 ($7,020)



The Secret Service revealed…

The Gerry Anderson’s Secret Service TV series agent Fr Unwin’s ‘Batmobile’ was in fact a Model T Ford called Gabriel which Dinky reproduced in 1969 as the 109 Gabriel Model T Ford.

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In the TV series a real Model T Ford was used as well as a 1/3 size radio controlled model for the marionettes.

The actual car still exists today in great condition and is owned by Charles Bussey.

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(c) Charles Bussey

For the full story on how this fantastic prop went from TV stardom to genteel retirement visit Moonbase Central, Paul Wood’s excellent site that covers just about every space toy ever released.

Click here for The Gabriel Story


Investigator Car and Boat

If you own a Dinky 602 Armoured Command Car and a 674 Coastguard Amphibious Patrol Boat nows the chance to get your hands on the ‘real’ thing.

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These two models were based on props to be used in a Gerry Anderson series ‘The Investigator’,  which made it to a pilot but nowhere else. Dinky had jumped the gun on this one and got in early but were then left with two models that would be redundant before they were even released. The Dinky design boffins remodelled both and came out with two modified designs, the Armoured Command car and the Coastguard Boat which were then released a stand alone toys. The former model claiming it was ‘designed by Gerry Anderson.’

The original props are up for auction on 10th October 2018 at the toy museum based in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex where they are currently on display.


An original film prop for the ‘The Investigator’ a six-wheeled car, designed by Reg Hill for Gerry Anderson pilot series in 1973 and manufactured by Space Models of Feltham, fitted with a Honda 50cc engine and radio controlled, 221cm long,together with a copy of the Meccano blueprint design, for the ‘Investigator’ Car

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An original film prop for the ‘The Investigator’, a speed boat, designed by Reg Hill for Gerry Anderson pilot series in 1973 and manufactured by Space Models of Feltham, fitted with a swivel cannon, this would have been towed for the live action sequences,250cm long, together with a copy of the Meccano blueprint design,
for the ‘Investigator’ Boat.

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Auction listing:



House on the Hill Toy Museum:




The Dinky 602 Armoured Command Car prototypes


The Dinky 602 Armoured Command Car was first produced in 1976.  It was based on a model used in Gerry Anderson’s ‘The Investigator’ which never made it past the pilot episode.

Vectis Auctions

The 602 is not hard to find and can be purchased in good condition with a box for around £50

Vectis Auctions recently sold a prototype, made in 1975, for this model. The key differences are the colour scheme and it has cast metal wheels rather than the plastic ones on the original model. Not in very good condition but it still went for £130


Vectis Auctions

The all plastic yellow version below is also a prototype, It was not a prototype for the metal model which went into production but for a range of all plastic versions of existing Dinky models that the company believed would be much cheaper to produce. The range never went ahead. The last version Vectis sold went for £600.


Vectis Auctions

Click here for more information on this model and its variants






The 486 Dinky Beats and the Beatles Bull Nose Morris

In 1965 Dinky released its second ‘Special’ the 486 Dinky Beats Morris Oxford Bull Nose Morris . At the time the Beatles were riding high in the charts so the timing was right but the licensing costs probably prohibitive – hence a model that generically reflected the beat groups of the day. And for the avoidance of legal doubt there were only three members of  this fictitious group.

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486 Dinky Beats Morris Oxford Bull Nose

But why choose a Bull Nose Morris? Well they already had a model that could be adapted, the 476 Morris Oxford Bull Nose, and also the Beatles first manager Allan Williams owned a Morris Oxford Bull Nose which he’d bought in 1959.

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Allan William’s Morris Oxford Bull Nose

Williams owned The Jacaranda and Blue Angel music venues and hired the future music superstars to perform in his clubs.

He rented a van and drove the group to its first Hamburg concert on August 16, 1960, so “it takes little to imagine Mr. Williams ferrying John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best around Liverpool — if not further afield — aboard the Oxford Morris Bullnose” (say H&H Auctions).

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And if you want to buy this car its up for sale:

The 1926 Morris Oxford “Bullnose” owned by The Beatles’ first manager “and most likely used by him to ferry the lads around” will be up for auction at the H&H Classics sale at The Pavilion Gardens in Buxton, UK, on July 18 2018.

This article was sourced from H&H Auctions

353 Shado 2 Mobile – the rarest version?

Dinky Toys first Shado 2 Mobile was produced in 1971 just after the the TV release of U.F.O. hit the viewing public. As usual for a Gerry Anderson production the shows were full of fantastic yet believable machines helping Earth defend itself from dastardly aliens.

Some of the most popular vehicles were the Shado mobiles, tank like tracked vehicles that were the first line of defence when the critters landed on Earth.  Dinky’s first version was strangely issued in olive green which made it look more like a tank but sadly was somewhat inaccurate as the vehicles should have been painted a light grey-blue.

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One assumes that the powers that be thought that the military colour would help sales long after the series finished and they were probably right.

But in 1978 there was a change of heart or a lack of matt-green paint and the Shado 2 was produced in a dark metallic blue.

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By now the Dinky factory was in steep decline and the model lasted only a year or two and thus are quite rare. By the very end of the run even the stickers had run out as had the dark metallic blue paint so there are a few models out there with a lighter metallic blue colour and no stickers. These are probably the rarest version. This model also has a green base and black wheels which is another unusual combination.

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And what might have been? I leave you with a Code 3 model of the Dinky 353 that would probably have made the shelves if sold today…

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